Georgetown has found comfort in Hinkle Fieldhouse since Butler joined the BIG EAST and Wednesday was no different. The Hoyas dominated most of the game and improved to 5-1 all-time at Hinkle Fieldhouse with an 84-76 victory over the Bulldogs.
With Georgetown missing Mac McClung and Trey Mourning with injuries, Greg Malinowski stepped into the void, lighting up Butler from three. He scored 12 points on perfect shooting in the first half and helped the Hoyas out to a 10-point lead eight minutes into the game. Butler fought back led by a Henry Baddley scoring spurt and eventually took the lead. After a little back-and-forth between the two teams, they went into the half with Georgetown leading by two.
In the second half, Georgetown started running away with about ten minutes left as Malinowski came alive again. Butler began pressing with a few minutes left and cut the lead to six with just under two minutes left, but Georgetown was able to make enough free throws to hang on. Malinowski finished with 26 points and Govan and LeBlanc combined for 29 points and six blocks.
On the Butler side of things, the generally skilled shooters were ice cold and the Bulldogs couldn’t get much going inside. The trio of Jordan Tucker, Sean McDermott, and Paul Jorgensen shot just 7-25 from the field and Kamar Baldwin had another inefficient offensive night—something that has been rather typical of him this year.
Georgetown is trending up with now four straight wins while Butler has lost two straight.
Butler next plays Creighton on Saturday, January 5 @ 12:00 p.m. ET.
Georgetown next plays St. John’s on Saturday, January @ 1:00 p.m. ET.
Georgetown has options
Georgetown can beat you in a lot of ways. Everybody knows about Govan and people are finding out about Akinjo and McClung. On Wednesday, another Hoya emerged in Greg Malinowski. On a night where Butler managed to mostly contain the rest of Georgetown’s crew, Malinowski scorched the nets at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler was put into a difficult predicament defensively every time Govan touched the ball because Govan is difficult to defend one-on-one, but with shooters lurking on the perimeter, double-teaming is risky. Georgetown also showed off some impressive big-to-big passing for easy baskets at times. The Hoyas will be difficult to defend with all these scoring options.
Baldwin can’t save Butler when the shots aren’t falling
Butler’s formula for success has been very simple this year: Play defense and make threes. The defense against Georgetown wasn’t great and that will likely be a takeaway for Coach Jordan. But a problem that has plagued Butler all season emerged again on Wednesday—when the Bulldogs aren’t able to make three-pointers, how can they score? Kamar Baldwin needs to be the answer but he hasn’t been so far. He seems to be getting to the rim far less than he has in the past and his mid-range game has been poor. Butler either needs its shooters to heat up or for Baldwin to figure out how to generate easy buckets or it could be a long ride in the BIG EAST this year.